Sunday, February 6, 2011

Models Again

Denis Alexander, at Biologos, has taken an aside from his model talk (which I commented on previously).

Alexander gives us a lot of insight into his thought processes, but I didn't find any compelling arguments for his case...

"We have the possibility of fellowship with God through freely willed choice. Our nearest cousins, chimps and bonobos, to the best of our knowledge, do not."
I think this reveals a lot about his underlying assumptions (Arminianism). This is creating more problems for the Gospel at Biologos - as their train comes further off the tracks, and heads deeper into "trainwreckville".

He does seem to get something of the point:
"It is not Genesis that poses the questions, though Genesis is clearly relevant, but rather the Christian theology of creation, sin and redemption."
"the Retelling Model doesn’t do a very good job on the biblical notion of sin... the tendency is to think of sin more as unfortunate sociobiology, poor humans in thrall to the dictates of their genes, but fortunately ‘saved’ by evolutionary theories of altruism... But I think such accounts are profoundly deficient from a theological perspective. "
"In biblical thought, sin is a theological concept which only makes sense in relation to God and to God’s will. If there is no God then there is certainly no sin, and what you’re left with is human misbehavior, certainly not ‘evil’ except as a socially convenient label."
This seems to be his main point. That sin is sin because God says so (which is true - consider the eating the fruit of the forbidden tree).

However, the Law is supposed to be an expression of God's character - what pleases Him. So, how is it that when animals (and human animals before "Homo Divinus") do something, it is pleasing to God - but then afterward, it is not?

An interesting point on federal headship:
"the first sin impacting upon the world not through inheritance (as in Augustine), but via the theological notion of Federal Headship, involving a lateral rather than a linear fall-out."
I actually don't have much of a problem with this. As Jesus' perfect account is credited to us (without us being His physical descendants), so can Adam's faulty account be charged. I think the biggest problem is one of freely giving grace vs. unjustly accounting law breaking... (but this is actually one of the smallest problems in these Old Earth models!)

"both Models have to give account as to how/why/when sin entered the world and in what sense sin ‘spread’ or ‘became relevant’ to the rest of humanity."
I hope Alexander goes into more depth in the future. This is actually a serious problem for the Gospel according to Biologos. As you spread the Gospel (including God's definition of sin) - you are making people previously exempt from the Law suddenly beholden to it!

Given historical conversion rates, this makes spreading the Gospel a very bad idea indeed!

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